Project Nim

Director: James Marsh

Institute History

  • 2011 Sundance Film Festival

Description

From the Oscar-winning team behind Man on Wire comes the story of Nim, the chimpanzee who, in the 1970s, became the focus of a landmark experiment that aimed to prove an ape—if raised and nurtured like a human child—could learn to communicate using sign language. If successful, the consequences of the project would be profound, breaking down the barrier between man and his closest animal relative and fundamentally redefining what it is to be human. Combining the testimony of all the key participants, newly discovered archival film, and dramatic imagery, Project Nim tells the picturesque story of one chimpanzee's extraordinary journey through human society and the enduring impact he makes on the people he meets along the way.
Filmmaker James Marsh returns to the Sundance Film Festival with an unflinching, unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about Nim’s true nature—and indeed our own—is comic, revealing, and profoundly unsettling.

— David Courier

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

Credits

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